My boys are picky eaters. This is typical with kids with autism. It is one of those things that you learn to work around. The boys were good eaters until the toddler years. All kids go through that. My kids never stopped. In some ways they have gotten worse.
I understand some of their issues. I am a picky eater too. I do not like steak but I love hamburgers. It is a texture thing. I love tomatoes but hate ketchup. I don't dip fries into ketchup. My boys never learned to dip. But I know when I have to give in. I once at ate chicken livers when I was in Poland. We hadn't had a decent meal in a couple of days and were out of options. Kids with autism will not give in. They will starve before they give in.
Some of their food routines...
Last year, I used to fix Lenders Cinnamon Raisin bagels. I toasted 4 bagels. Andy ate them all. Maybe once a month, Ryan ate 1/2 bagel. On school days, Andy didn't eat much before he left. But he would eat the leftovers when he gets home. They were cold and stale and he would eat them. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I fixed the leftover sausage from Sunday. I used to fix biscuits but Andy stopped eating them so then I just toasted a couple of bagels to go along with the sausage. Andy would eat the sausage but skip the bagels until he got home.
Then Andy started high school. School starts at 7:30. He has to get up at 6 and catch the bus at 6:50. Andy is not a morning person. He would eat his sausage on Tuesdays and Thursdays but nothing the other days. Andy's lunch doesn't begin until 12:10. It is a long time to go without food. I asked Andy if he would eat sausage if I made every week day. He was excited with that idea. Monday and Tuesday, Andy eats the leftovers from Sundays. I cook up a fresh batch on Wednesday and Andy eats that the next three days. On Saturdays, Andy eats 4 toasted bagels. It takes him all morning the way he grazes.
On Sundays, we have waffles and sausage. Andy eats 2 waffles and 5 sausages. It is routine. He cannot deviate, unless he is sick.
Ryan usually eats cookies or donut holes. And chocolate milk. Lots of chocolate milk. Ryan will nibble the edges of the cold, plain waffles but nothing else.
At home I fix grilled cheese. Only Andy will eat this. Years ago, when Ryan ate as well, he used to leave the crust. Andy picked up this habit and won't stop.
When we go out to eat, we do drive thru through two different places. Andy prefers Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets and fries. Ryan will only eat fries from McDonald's. We stop at McDonald's first where Ryan gets medium fries and Andy gets small fries. Then we go to Chick-Fil-A. For years, Ryan's preference was Wendy's until they switched their fries. And there was a time when Ryan preferred Arby's home style fries until they stopped carrying them. Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays so Andy used to hot dogs until he got tired of them. He started eating McDonald's chicken selects until they stopped making the Chicken Selects. I make grilled cheese for Andy. One Sunday, I stopped at Target and got a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza for Andy. He really liked that. But I cannot stop there each week. I told him I will get him pizza every other week. He is OK with that.
Lunch at School
For Andy's lunch: 1/2 cup Multi-Grain Cheerios, 5 club crackers, 1 cup Whole Grain Goldfish crackers. He usually eats the Goldfish and the cereal, the Club crackers are eaten last. He drinks a thermos os Juicy Juice.
For Ryan's lunch: 1/2 cup Chocolate Cheerios, 5 Club Crackers. He always eats the crackers and about 1/3 of the Cheerios. Ryan drink Capri Sun. It is the only time he will drink juice.
Andy eats Tyson Southern Style Chicken Nuggets. Every night. Nothing else. Sometimes Ryan will eat one nugget. Most days, Andy eats the whole box. We rarely eat out for dinner.
Ryan eats his cookies and donut holes and chocolate milk. Ryan does not differentiate from snack and meal. Ryan is my chocolate boy. He used to eat plain Hershey Kisses. I had gotten a bag of Dark Chocolate Kisses for me. I noticed the bag on the floor, empty. He ate the whole thing and did not get sick! We moved to caramel kisses and kept them in the refrigerator. I used to keep them on a high shelf then Ryan got tall and smart. I cannot find these locally anymore. I have to go to another Target.
Andy will eat Entenmann's Pop'Ems if he is hungry between meals. Or Club Crackers.
Andy likes pizza. He prefers Papa John's thin crust with cheese only. Andy will eat half of a large pizza. He will not eat leftover pizza. Ryan has not eaten pizza since he was 5 years old.
Foods they used to eat
Chips: Ryan used to bring home snack bags of chips. He got them from his teacher for being good. He used to eat them. He preferred the rippled kind. Then he stopped eating them. Andy used to love Pringles in his lunch but he stopped eating them.
Cookies: Ryan has always been my sweet eater. And he would try different cookies. Especially if he picked them out at the grocery store. He loved Oreo Uh-ohs. He liked chocolate chip cookies. He even tried Keebler Fudge Stripe cookies. He won't eat any of these anymore.
Candy: Andy has never liked candy. His teacher used to use it for rewards. Some kids used to try to sneak it. She started putting it by Andy because he wouldn't eat it not would he let the other kids eat it. Ryan used to use m&m's. He is the only kid who got messy eating them.
The boys don't like change.
Manufacturers love to change the design of the packages. This was always a problem. I had to show the kids it was the same and they were OK. Mostly. Then Keebler changed the cookie! Andy used to eat EL Fudge cookies. The front of the cookie is the front of the elf. The back of the cookie, was the back of the elf. Then they changed the back to some words. Andy would not eat them anymore.
Ryan does not like to sit inside restaurants. The exception is McDonald's at DisneyWorld where they show old Disney cartoons. Andy likes to eat inside. We eat inside when Ryan is not with us.